This historic structure forms the gateway to the University at Buffalo's downtown campus and the nearby Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The UB Downtown Gateway is the portal for knowledge, learning, and opportunity for university and community members. Through interdisciplinary scholarship, education and service Gateway resident and partners play a central role in policy, community and economic development within the region. Currently the building houses Family Medicine, UBMD, Urban Design & Regional Planning, and other initiatives and partners.
The M. Wile & Company Factory Building is significant architecturally as an outstanding example of an early 20th century "Daylight Factory." Constructed of reinforced concrete and glazed with metal sash windows, this building type superseded earlier factories that had been built with brick walls and wood floors. It represented a great advance in workplace fireproofing, lighting, and spaciousness.
The building is also significant as representing the development of ready made men's clothing in America. This industry grew from modest beginnings in the 19th century to a national industry by the late 1920s. The M. Wile firm, founded in 1877 in Buffalo by Mayer Wile, was a pioneer of this type of retailing. Continuing today as a subsidiary of a larger company, it is one of the oldest manufacturers of men's clothing in the United States.
Finally, the M. Wile & Company Factory Building is significant for its association with the German-American heritage of Buffalo. At the time of its construction by a prominent member of this community, the M. Wile & Company Factory Building ranked as a landmark of the German section of Buffalo.
The building was built in 1924 and was designed by Esenwein & Johnson. Architecturally, the building is a good example of the Daylight Factory. This type of multi-storied factory building used reinforced concrete in an exposed frame system of construction with the spaces between exterior piers filled almost entirely with steel sash windows. The Daylight Factory answered the need of manufacturers for wide open, naturally lit floor space in fireproof buildings that were inexpensive and quick to erect.
The property was eventually purchased in 1999 by developer Stephen McGarvey, who transformed it into office space as part of his Century Centre II renovations.